• Tops, blouses and shirts

    Candy cane New Look 6707

    It’s quite thrilling to be one of the first people to review a pattern. When you search for hashtag inspiration and get photos of planes instead of patterns, you know you’re going to be one of the first haha.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    New Look 6707 is a sweet v-neck blouse that has an optional oversized ruffle collar and puff sleeves finished with a hem band. It was only recently released and taps into that trend of statement collars we can’t seem to escape right now.

    I really liked the pattern but was scared whether the collar would be too big for my narrow shoulders. I thought the only way to know for sure would be to sew up a wearable toile. I chose a polycotton gingham that I had in my stash from Minerva. It was originally for a sweet 50s dress but I decided I wanted a smaller print for that project.

    Close up of Almond Rock in New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    The collar involves a fair bit of gathering to make that ruffle but it’s so sweet when finished. I cut my collar as the pattern recommended with a straight grain line arrow position. This means the front ends up on the bias of the gingham creating an eye-catching effect.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    For the sleeves I already knew I couldn’t pull off the pleated sleeve caps. I tried that with my unfinished Sasha McCall’s dress which, yep you’ve guessed it, I didn’t finish for that reason. So on the tissue I folded out the pleats for a smooth sleeve cap while keeping the volume in the lower part of the sleeve. These sleeves remind me of the 70s McCall’s blouse I made recently.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    Even with a wearable toile I couldn’t resist ensuring a good pattern match. But I think the fabric isn’t right for this design on me. It’s too sugary sweet for my liking and again, the print is too big. I’m going to make it again with a little more length in the body and a plain fabric or less oversized print.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    I’ll probably still wear this during summer don’t get me wrong! Have you been tempted by this pattern?

  • Dresses

    Wild goose chase B6676

    Happy Weekend everyone! It’s sunny here in Yorkshire and my mood is instantly boosted like a terrible British cliche. BUT I DON’T CARE… I’ve missed sunshine too much. Now onto sewing. I finally photographed three makes this week now my awful ear issues are finally gone.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    This is Butterick 6676 which has three styles of dress, but the envelope only shows two. There are two styles of skirt plus different waist finishes to choose from. I went rogue and made view B without any side tabs. So a clean simple dress to really let the fabric shine. See all the line art at sewdirect.com.

    My copy of the pattern is from Love Sewing 104 which has all sizes in one envelope (6-22) plus it has a second pattern for £9.99. And you can get 20% off your first order through craftstash – BARGAIN. Plus you’ll get to read my monthly column if you pick up the issue which I hope you like!

    My fabric is the absolute star of the show. It’s a Lady McElroy called Wild Goose Chase and is a beautiful cotton lawn. I received this as payment for a previous collaboration with Lady McElroy. I LOVED the name as much as the colour and print of the fabric by the way. God I love puns and witty names and this tickled me. There are other colourways available too by the way. I decided a simple silhouette would be best and wanted to make sure the insides of the dress were lovely too.

     

    I made a petite bodice adjustment using the lengthen shorten line. Then cut a 6 in the upper bodice grading out to a 14 in the waist and a 16 in the hips. I have extremely narrow shoulders FYI. Because I bought the Love Sewing magazine that had this pattern with all sizes in one envelope I could get up to a size 16. The standard pattern lower size pack stops at 14.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 with keyhole back wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    I started by deciding to omit the centre back zipper and seam on B6676. I cut the pieces on the fold and moved the zipper to the side seam. This meant I needed to create some method of getting the dress over my head. I loved the centre front keyhole/slit of view B but decided to add it as a keyhole to the back neckline and add a button loop so redrafted the back facing pattern piece to have the keyhole extension.

    The pattern isn’t lined but as cotton lawn is prone to wrinkling I wanted to add a lining to minimise this. I realised I’d have to create a underlining/lining hybrid. The skirt was easy. Then I created a lining version of the bodice and placed it WST with the bodice and basted around the neckline and armholes. Then I installed the neckline facing and armhole binding on top. But at the waist and zipper opening I then treated this as a true lining, enclosing the zipper tape and waist seam, then slip-stitching in place.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    Because I had some fabric left over I made the belt. I’ve made belts before and it’s quite a fun process. My favourites are when I’ve found vintage belt kits which have the proper belting material and the special glue to cover the buckle in coordinating fabric. This time I had to make do with a buckle from my stash but it’s pretty cute. It ended up a little longer than I planned so I need to make a belt loop for the belt (as opposed to ones sewn on the dress).

    I use the stiffest interfacing I can find and make a four fold strip – meaning the seam allowances are as wide as the belt for the thickest most stable finish. I have a big tin of eyelets in lots of colours and different metals, and chose silver to match the buckle. You make a small cut and then use pliers to install an eyelet in under 5 seconds. For the other end you create a buttonhole around 3-3″ from the end and feed the buckle prong into it, then fold back the fabric on itself and sew together to secure.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    It’s a really sweet dress and I enjoy a bit of hand sewing every now and then. Think this one was finished while watching Cheer season 2 on Netflix. I’m going to wear it out soon as I feel great in it. It’s got that lovely, floaty style of A-line skirt that skims over your stomach area and a busy fabric that stops you noticing a full tummy. The bust fits great and I’m going to wear it with cardigans with it until summer comes around!

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Simplicity 9462 blouse

    Hi Everyone. When the world is feeling scary I find comfort in using my hands and focusing on a sewing task. Watching the news this week has definitely been made easier by being able to head upstairs and create. I recently finished this blouse and wanted to share it.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I do enjoy a quick hack. So I took the new Simplicity 9462 floaty lounge dress and made a new hem cutting line. I made it about 37cm aka 15″ from the centre front large circle notch which marks the bottom of that centre front opening. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the dress length but I adore this blouse and think I’ll make another.

    It’s such a cool design. The ruffled neckline is elasticated by a channel where the ruffle joins the neckline. The front opening and facing might seem a little intimidating but when you sew it, the finish on the inside is so nice and clean. I made a video sewalong for the Simplicity McCalls UK YouTube channel to show how it comes together.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    Yes I’m also sewing raglan sleeves again. Since I’ve rediscovered them, they seem to be on all my favourite patterns. As they continue into the neckline they are gathered at the head by the elastic and then gathered at the cuff by a tiny 6mm elastic hem channel. This creates a beautiful silhouette that is puffy or pouffy but still fit under a cardigan (essential in my life).

    I used a Liberty lookalike cotton lawn fabric from Aliexpress. It’s just as soft as Liberty tana lawn but the colours are slightly different. It’s perfect for this blouse as it’s stable enough to construct the various elastic channels and make button loops from. And the sleeves achieve the perfect full balloon effect thanks to that slight stiffness. But it’s floaty enough that it doesn’t stick out from my body when I wear it. Of course being cotton, it does crease a little but I think a busy print helps hide that!

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I’ve been wearing it with the top button undone, as I like to see my neck. That way I get the best of both with the ruffle still visible. The elasticated neckline and opening make it super easy to throw on. It’s great with jeans and red lipstick for a slightly dressier look. I might even wear it to a trade show I’m going to on Monday. Let me know if you’re inspired to make this one – as a dress or a top!

  • Jackets and coats

    Olive Green Vogue 1537

    Here she finally is, my finished Vogue 1537 in Olive Green wool. I’ve been dragging my heels all winter with this one but she’s finally done! When I made my first version of this coat it was LOVE. In fact I still love it…. I just can’t button it up any more. But I might in future so it’s staying put in my coat cupboard.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    If you remember, originally I wanted a pass at this coat after seeing someone make a wool version on pattern review. You know I like to break the rules and was happy to find a like-minded rebel. It’s of course designed for lighter weight fabrics but who cares about that. Here’s my second wool version!

    I used my altered pattern pieces with lengthened sleeves and no wrist tabs. And just like before there’s no hem vent. Shame on me AGAIN for not adding one. But you can easily move in this gently boxy coat without one. Plus it does line up but I was victim to the wind which was WILD. I had to choose between all my hair over my face or the hem not matching for the next photo.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    This is my 9th piece of outerwear I think? But second full length coat. And because I made it from wool coating I had to add some extra steps that weren’t in the instructions to prepare the fabric. First you have to decide how to prepare your wool. I like to steam shrink everything by hand with a garment steamer or iron. Other people take the risk and machine wash. And some don’t prep at all. With the horrible rain that UK Autumn/Winter experiences, I prefer to get all shrinking out of the way.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Then I interfaced all the body with medium woven interfacing and the facings with a thicker canvas style interfacing. I decided not to pad stitch the interfacing in place, and used fusibles this time around because although my coating is thick, it’s not the kind of pile you could easily hide all the stitches in. Fusing such large pieces makes me wish for one of those big iron presses that tailors have. You can see I also use bright basting stitches to hold things in place… my idea of fun (I’m so wild, you can’t stand it).

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    When it comes to pressing seams I use a clapper and pressing cloth to hold the heat in the wool and avoid shiny marks from the iron plate. I also use a pair of manilla envelopes under the seam allowances to prevent a seam line mark on the right side of the garment. Then rather annoyingly when I was giving the coat a final press, I totally forgot this and pressed the long back seam creating a shadow/dent. I bet you didn’t even notice it in the photo, but I know it’s there. Hopefully it will fade with time and another steam.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Its a really lovely pattern with a great dress included. Vogue patterns are filled with nice designer details for a super polished finish. And I love the 60s vibe of the collar. You’ll see this design has large patch pockets but unfortunately I was about 30cms short of fabric to add these to mine. Instead I used the scraps of wool to make hip level welt flaps, for pockets which are lined and functional. Given how thick the fabric is the welts turned out nicely but I prefer a patch pocket for easier carrying of keys/phone/mask.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    The fabric is from Montreux Fabrics (now sold out), from their stall at Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate. It’s a very thick pure wool coating with an interesting variegation of thread colours. The finished coat is only a little bulky while being pleasantly very warm – my orange version was much thinner. I’m really pleased with the colour out in the world… in my sewing room it looked a little drab. A word I try not to associate with! The lining is rather the star of the show. This cat print satin (also sold out) was provided free of charge from Rainbow Fabrics as a preview of their A/W collection in exchange for an Instagram story. When I saw it alongside the coat fabric the colours paired so beautifully, with the navy and mustard cats popping against the olive.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    So now I can be warm and dry again until nice weather returns to the UK. And I can move onto another project which hopefully I’ll finish quicker! Thanks for reading to the end. Or thanks for looking at all the pictures.

  • Dresses

    Starry night McCall’s 8090 hack

    Happy 2022 everyone! I’m kicking off the year by sharing a dress I actually finished last August. It’s a little ridiculous how long things wait before I photograph them properly. When I shared a sneak peek on Instagram it was very popular so hopefully you still like it now it’s finished. I’m pretty taken with it, except for one thing which I’ll cover in a moment.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    I used the Marina Dress from McCall’s aka M8090 which is available in sizes 4-22 (46″ hip). This dress came with Love Sewing 95 where is how I recommend you buying it as it’s £9.99 for three sewing patterns. As per my previous version I adapted the bodice and skirt panel lengths. Marina is drop waist so I took 9cm off the bodice and added it to the top skirt panels. Next I removed the square yoke by folding out the gathering at the centre front and taping the yoke piece directly on top of the bodice piece. Here’s what that looked like.

    Almond Rock shows a pattern hack to remove the yoke from McCall's M8090 sewing pattern

    On my previous version I also adapted the sleeve into a raglan but I decided to keep the standard rounded sleeve for this dress. As I made the dress in August, I went for a sleeveless finish but honestly regretted it. That’s the major thing I referred to at the start of this post. And there is a sleeveless view for the pattern but I think a smaller armhole would be more flattering on me if going sleeveless. I have enough fabric left over to cut some sleeves so will add a 3/4 sleeve with an elastic cuff. 

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Another thing that didn’t go quite to plan is the neckline where I decided to omit the collar stand. I wanted a nice flat open neckline which I got by drafting a neckline facing on the inside, instead. It’s not enough to support the placket opening even with an interfaced placket, so the fabric sags. Not unwearable but not as smart and neat as the original pattern. While I’m going to add sleeves, I’m not going to add a collar retrospectively. 

    Almond rock shows the back of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Fit wise I didn’t change anything from my first version which was size S (8-10). The waistline droop I mentioned in my previous post turned out to be caused by my raglan sleeve alterations so I still need to curve the waist cutting line on those pattern pieces but not the regular sleeve version.

    Almond rock shows the skirt of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepeLet’s talk about this stunning fabric! It’s an ecovera viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics. It’s definitely a bubbly crepe weave but has the shine of a crepe de chine. It’s gorgeous with the perfect drape and opacity! It’s a deadstock fabric from the brand Nobody’s Child and they seem to get fabric from them quite regularly so I always keep my eyes peeled for more of this type. 

    Almond Rock wants to make the Nobody's child lemon print dress using McCall's 7974

    For instance McCall’s 7974 would be perfect for this dress if I can get the Nobody’s Child lemon fabric!